We have just completed four weeks of hosting, are enjoying ourselves, and learning a lot swiftly. The best lesson learned is to not break our own rules, no matter how mean it makes us feel. We accepted a 2 night booking from someone who claimed to be a family of three, including a nine year old daughter, illustrated by her profile photo. Having accepted the booking (on a phone, in the pub…) we received another family photo showing her son, a sizeable toddler. He had not shown up in the original booking, possibly because she claimed he was under two. I emailed her back to say that ordinarily we don’t accept children under 12 or under 2yrs, which is clear on our listing and in our house rules. I gave her explicit detail why not, i.e. that the house is 250 years old, has twisty, steep staircases, steep steps up into the garden and a drop into the courtyard. Having already accepted the booking, I asked her to supervise her children carefully, and to keep them away from our aged cats. I had a very terse response of one liners: that they are a good team, not to worry. They arrived early, just as we were about to have a late lunch, which we had to put on hold. I was languidly asked what the dangers were, and told that these were not an issue, and they had their own cats the kids were great with, amidst much gushing about what a lovely house we have. To cut a torrid story short, they failed to supervise their son in any measure, culminating in him rushing down stairs the following morning, stumbling halfway down. Twice! The first time, whilst they were eating breakfast alone, his mother heard and just caught him just in time. Fortunately (for them at least) I was close by the second time, heard him, turned around and caught him before he hit his head on the marble floor tiles or granite work surface. I caught him awkwardly; he was really heavy for a supposed less-than-two year old and I have been in pain ever since, having aggravated an old whiplash and lower back injury. Dad came down quickly after I shouted up the stairs, but no apology whatsoever, merely “oh, I have a bad back; I’ve had surgery twice”. They left the following day and she swiftly posted a terrible review, trashing the house, too many house rules, the location ( roads too narrow! In a small, rural village…). Gloriously, she went into public detail about how the house is definitely NOT suitable for children, which enabled me to enjoy responding how we are clear on our listing, and in the house rules, about why it is not suitable.
I will stop ranting, except to say that she left a pile of soiled nappies (diapers) in the bathroom, not even tying the bags up. She merely had to ask on arrival about disposal and more bags. Needless to say, I have not recommended her to other hosts and kept to the facts.